Four District men accused of robbing a Brinks armored car at Dulles International Airport last week abandoned their getaway vehicle and $4 million in booty less than a mile from the site of the robbery, returning later to recover the spoils, according to testimony yesterday in federal court.
FBI agent Howard W. Luker testified in U.S. Magistrate's Court in Alexandria that the four men, who were arrested two days after the holdup, ditched their van just minutes after the incident when they heard sirens and believed "they were being pursued by the police."
Luker said the men "fled by foot across Route 28" and returned that evening to recover two canvas bags containing $4 million in jewelry, Swiss francs and nonnegotiable bonds. None of the spoils, including weapons taken from the Brinks guards, has been recovered, he said.
After hearing the testimony, U.S. Magistrate W. Curtis Sewell ordered that Albert Larry Weaver, 20, Kirk Douglas Greene, 19, and Rudolph Hilton Williams, 18, be held without bond in connection with the May 30 robbery at a Federal Express loading dock at the airport.
Kevin Tyrone Baldwin, 21, also charged in the case, failed to hire a lawyer in time for yesterday's detention hearing and was ordered to return today, when he will be given a court-appointed attorney.
Luker said District police sources have identified the four men as belonging to "an organization loosely known as 'The 5th & O Street Gang.' "
Law enforcement officials said they are looking for a fifth man allegedly involved in the robbery, in which three Brinks guards were held at gunpoint and forced to turn over their shipment.
Gregory B. English, an attorney for Williams, asked Luker if the coincidence of armed robbers arriving at the very moment the Federal Express shipment was being loaded suggested the possibility of "an inside job," which may not have involved his client.
At the objection of Assistant U.S. Attorney W. Neil Hammerstrom Jr., Luker was not allowed to speculate. The chief of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department has said that none of the suspects had any connection with Dulles airport.
The day after the robbery, the FBI received between 10 and 50 anonymous phone tips giving detailed descriptions of the holdup, the suspects and the location of the abandoned getaway van, according to testimony yesterday.
With the help of the calls, investigators found the van in a ditch in the 13000 block of Barnsfield Road, which dead-ends at the airport.
Agents also got calls telling them that Baldwin and Weaver were involved in the robbery and that Greene was one of those who returned to the van that evening to recover the stolen goods, according to Luker.
The van, which became stuck in mud during the getaway attempt, belongs to Benny Baldwin, Kevin Baldwin's father, according to an FBI affidavit filed in connection with the case.
The affidavit adds that one of the three Brinks security guards who were robbed knew Kevin Baldwin, and that Baldwin had followed the guard on his way to work five days before the robbery.
Baldwin was arrested on a trespassing charge at the airport on the night of the robbery, when the suspects returned to recover the Brinks shipment, court papers state.
He was released after being given a citation, according to the papers.
Baldwin and the others were arrested and charged for the robbery two days later.